Wed, Feb 15, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Attack done by ‘well-trained’ operative, India says


Indian investigators yesterday were searching for the motorcycle assailant who attached a bomb to an Israeli diplomatic car in the heart of New Delhi in an attack the Jewish state blamed on Iran or its proxies.

The blast set a car ablaze and wounded four people, including an Israeli embassy driver and a diplomat’s wife, who was in critical, but stable, condition.

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said the strike appeared to be a terror attack carried out by a “very well-trained person.”

India declined to cast blame for the attack just a few hundred meters from the prime minister’s residence.

“At the moment, I am not pointing a finger at any particular group or any particular organization. But whoever did it, we condemn it in the strongest terms,” Chidambaram said.

Indian security experts say that scores of students from north India go every year to the Iranian holy city of Qom for religious studies and many maintain contacts there.

Israel sent forensic scientists from its police force to New Delhi to search for clues as to who carried out the attacks, an Israeli government official said.

The embassy declined to provide details of the investigation.

“There is day-to-day cooperation between Israeli authorities and Indian security authorities. Very close cooperation,” Israeli embassy spokesman David Goldfarb said.

Authorities were scanning closed circuit camera footage of the street, and special teams were searching for the motorcycle and its rider, Chidambaram said.

“Diplomats of every country are entitled to live and work here in peace and security, and any attempt to attack any diplomat or a member of a diplomat’s family is condemnable,” he said.

The attack raised the specter that India’s image as a country with porous security was inviting foreign actors to use it as a theater to attack each other.

“India needs to strengthen it’s security capability. Also it needs better coordination with international security agencies,” said Ajit Doval, the former head of India’s Intelligence Bureau.

Indian officials defended the country as safe.

“A single incident, you know, you cannot generalize and say India has failed,” Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna told CNN-IBN television. “An isolated incident of this kind can happen anywhere in the world.”

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